Turkish hospitality and friendliness was something Ashely and I both heard a lot about before coming to Istanbul. Now that we are here, we can tell you that is really is wonderful. People are somehow generally friendly and nice. If you have a map out and look lost, it isn't too long until someone comes up to help you. Most likely there would be more if everyone spoke English. In a grocery store, samples to try are handed out freely. Also they'll toss a few extras of this and that in. Shop keepers are also very likely to strike up a conversation. I just got back from a great conversation after picking up some evening snacks from a corner store. He worked for a cruise line based out of Florida for 2 years. Although he prefers the countryside he is here working in Istanbul to support his little brother getting through school. We chatted for a good 20min about this and that. At one point we talked about some of the local crime. During that conversation he pulls out a pistol from under the counter to show me. Something I never would have expected from any store clerk. I found a new friend. His Turkish name was difficult, but he said "Call me John Travolta!" You can remember that.
The other which was unexpected was when I was waiting for Ashley outside our apartment. Ashley was finishing up some conversations with ChatterBlock people. While waiting, I was admiring a motorcycle in the parking lot. A 150cc Honda motorcycle. Love the small engine motorcycles. Hard to find back home. Anyway, shortly after checking it out the parking lot attendant gives me a smile. He then picks up a set of keys and says "Ride?" Taken a back I point to me, and motion about riding with a puzzled look on his face. This confirmed he conveyed what he wanted, nodding and offers me the keys. I then proceed to do some figure 8's and doughnuts in the parking lot on his bike. You could tell he loved the bike as it was adorned with extra decals and extras. Yet he was totally free to offer a ride to a stranger. Just Wow! We chatted as best we could after. Ashley finally came out, and wondered why I had a giant smile on my face. It was a realization that Istanbul is as much about the people here, as all the history and the stuff that is here.